Perfectly Cooked Sweet Potatoes in Salads

As I’m sure most of you have probably noticed, I have moved away from posting my daily eats. There are quite a few reasons I stopped. The main reason was that I wanted to focus on quality content with nice photos and I don’t have the time to do that every day for every meal. In addition, my meals don’t change that often. I think I’ve eaten oatmeal or a protein pancake for breakfast almost every day this year – exciting, huh? Lunches and dinners are pretty similar as well – unless I’m trying out new recipes… which I usually post if they turn out well.  

That said, I do post photos of a lot of my meals on Instagram (which feed over to my Facebook). So if you’re interested in seeing my daily eats, be sure to follow me on those.

Lunch is almost always a salad of some sort. I like to fill a bowl with greens (spring mix, romaine, spinach, kale, etc.) and then top it with a protein and some veggies. In the spring and summer, I’m usually fine with completely raw salads but in the winter I like to add some cooked veggies like leftover roasted broccolibrussels sprouts or baked sweet potato chunks. 

For example, the salad below has a bed of spring mix, leftover roasted broccoli, marinated tempeh, baked sweet potato chunks and a dollop of Sabra hummus. Sometimes I’ll make a homemade dressing but most of the time I use hummus as a “dressing” or sprinkle the salad with balsamic vinegar. I find that if I have flavorful toppings, I don’t need much dressing. 

sweet potato in salad 

The veggies can be straight from the fridge or served warm. Some days, when it’s really chilly out I crave something warm so I’ll reheat the roasted veggies in the toaster oven. And of course, I put each topping in it’s own little place for the photo but when I eat it, I mix it all together. 

As for the sweet potato – it’s baked and I have a few different ways of preparing it. The first is to bake it in the oven the day before (this takes an hour or so depending on how big the potato is), let it cool and store it in the fridge until I need it. When I’m pressed for time (or want a warm potato), I just microwave it. I typically only use half the a medium/large potato in one salad so I store the other half in the fridge for the next day. 

How to bake a perfect sweet potato:

  1. Scrub the sweet potato thoroughly, then pat dry.
  2. Prick the sweet potato with a fork or knife in two or three places.
  3. lace the sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. (Sometimes it get’s bubbly and drips)
  4. Bake at 425 degrees° for 40 to 60 minutes or until tender.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool. Chop into chunks and serve immediately or keep it whole and place in the fridge for later use. 

How to microwave a sweet potato:

  1. Scrub the sweet potato thoroughly, then pat dry.
  2. Prick the sweet potato with a fork or knife in two or three places.
  3. Place the sweet potato on a paper towel in the microwave. It’s also a good idea to cover the top with a paper towel. <– I’ve had a sweet potato explode on me and cleaning a sweet potato splattered microwave is not fun – especially at work!
  4. Cook on high for 5 minutes. Turn the sweet potato over, placing the side that had been on the bottom on top.
  5. Cook another 5 minutes. (Microwave strengths definitely vary so just experiment until you get the time right. The potato should be tender enough that a fork goes through easily. 

Microwaved sweet potatoes definitely work in a pinch, but oven baked potatoes in the oven are definitely my favorite – the texture is creamier and more delicious. I also like to use leftover butternut squash fries in my salads. These kabocha tots work great as salad croutons too.

Sweet potato in salads

Of course, you could always served your baked sweet potato as a side to your salad as well. I’m a big fan of baked sweet potatoes made even sweeter with coconut butter, cinnamon and sea salt or served savory with cottage cheese and ketchup or salsa. I know the second option sounds weird, but don’t knock it til you try it! 

Last but not least, I will mention that a few people have expressed interest in seeing what I eat on the daily again… I definitely won’t go back to posting what I eat everyday but if you all are interested, I would be willing to do it once a week or so. Maybe I can pose it as “Eating Like a Health Coach” or something like that. Let me know in the comment section and I’ll decide based on your input. 

Have a lovely day friends! I’m off to do my PT exercises and an arm + abs workout.

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    15 comments
  1. I enjoy salads, but get tired of them easily, so I only eat them about twice a week. And in the winter, even that can be hard unless it followed by some warm comfort food. So putting the warm comfort food like a sweet potato in the salad…I like it!

    Yay on the weekly eats! Personally, I think no need to “confess” any unhealthy stuff (hey we all do that) or posting the same thing over and over (which I think is what made you stop in the first place). Maybe make suggestions for quick changes, or adds, for different ideas or twists on what you eat, or showing how what you ate for dinner could be used for lunch. Maybe you don’t even have to photograph exactly what you did eat (that can be a lot of pressure), as much as make a mood/food board of what would be good combinations. JMO

  2. I agree–oven baked potatoes are better, but I LOVE the fact that you can microwave a sweet potato. I like to do it on those days that I’m feeling super lazy–no excuse not to get your veggies in for the day!

  3. I would recommend pricking the sweet potato more than 2 or 3 times. It needs more air vents. I have never had a potato explode…I prick them liberally so they can let out their steam.

  4. LOVE cooked veggies in my salad, namely baked sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli, and roasted brussels sprouts. May favorite salad of all time is mixed greens with baked sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli, avocado, and goat cheese. I usually add a balsamic type of dressing. So tasty. I almost always add steamed broc to my salads. I make them in the morning and keep them in the fridge at work until lunch so the cooked veggies aren’t warm when I eat the salad, but I may have to start making them on the weekends now too because the mix of warm and cold sounds really good. Thanks for reminding me!

  5. I think that the best way for us all to learn about healthy eating and exercise strategies that work for our own bodies, is by being inspired by the ways of others. It’s amazing the little things that other people do or know that can make a massive difference to our lives. I say, if you can, share some of your food ideas because obviously you have worked quite hard on finding something that suits you and that you enjoy. I am in the same boat though, I make a meal plan at the start of the week and I basically eat the same thing all week, until I change it up the following week so I do see where you are coming from!

  6. Yum! This looks super tasty! I also like to use hummus as a dressing too. I did something completely random the other day too. My FIL came home with a *GIANT* box of Florida Tangelos. I made a salad for lunch then and realized we didn’t have any crap free dressings in the house (b/c I had used them all) so I just squeezed half of one of the tangelos on top of it. Holy crap it was delicious!

  7. If you put a cup of water in the microwave when cooking a potato it won’t explode and it won’t get all dried out. I never use the oven to bake regular or sweet potatoes anymore since learning this trick.

  8. I always love reading your daily eats posts, so I would enjoy it if you did the weekly feature like you mentioned. You always give me great new ideas!

  9. I love love love sweet potatoes in my salad! When it’s not a sweet potato, it’s butternut squash. Some kind of warm, roasted orange veggie makes any salad outstanding!

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